SBK-07 Superbike World Championship

It’s tough to decide between MotoGP and the Superbike World Championship. Best motorsport series in the world? It’s close between them. Most entertaining rider? Rossi and Haga both have their charms. Best commentators? Jack Burnicle and James Whitham are excellent, but Randy Mamola – with Toby Moody and Julian Ryder on Eurosport – probably pushes it towards MotoGP. Just.

SBK-07 Superbike World ChampionshipSo yes, your correspondent is mildly obsessed with motorsport of all forms, not least the two-wheeled kind. But I roughly know my games too, and now it’s tough to decide between MotoGP and Superbikes in that realm. Not graphically, mind: this is PlayStation 2, and it’s showing its age. We’ll leave that there.

The official license brings riders, bikes and – most importantly – tracks. Brands Hatch, in particular, is an incredibly fun challenge, and there are two more British tracks – Silverstone and Donnington – to boot, thanks to the additional round this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the championship’s first race, which was at Donnington.

But it’s all about how the bikes handle, and that’s just tremendous. It feels like you’re struggling to manhandle the bike around the track, but it’s actually reasonably difficult to bin it. The effect is that it feels like you’re really damned good. Which is a good feeling. Weight transfer in chicanes is particularly pleasing, as is the lack of grip after you’ve been off the track. Changing weather conditions throughout a race weekend are a joy, too.

The sensitivity of collisions is generous: overtaking is tough enough without falling off at the slightest touch, so it takes a hardy bash to send you sliding down the road. Which it should, of course. A bit of faring paint exchange though? That’s fine.

But while it’s realistic that it’s easier to go fast with a clear track in front of you than it is to battle through a tight pack of riders, qualifying is disproportionately easier than the races, which makes choosing a satisfying difficulty level less straightforward. As you’ll probably have gathered, the easiest setting won’t make you want to kill though.

Loading times, though. Oh man. Just be prepared to be made to wait.

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